Configure Color Management in Windows Vista or XP - dummies

Configure Color Management in Windows Vista or XP

By Dan Gookin

The idea behind color management isn’t to match colors on a computer monitor with colors in the real world. Instead, strive to match colors in a way that satisfies your needs. For example, match the colors on the monitor to the colors produced by a specific printer or another output device. To make it happen, you use the Windows Color Management tool.

The Windows Color Management tool isn’t something you mess with casually. Use it only when you receive instructions on which profiles to select. This information may be found in a graphics application’s reference or in your PC’s printer reference.

To use the color management tool in Windows Vista, open your PC’s display adapter Properties dialog box. Then continue with these steps:

  1. Click the Color Management tab.

  2. Click the Color Management button.

    The Color Management window appears. Yes, it’s quite a complex place. There’s no need to wander about aimlessly.

  3. Choose a hardware device from the Device menu button.

    Most likely, the PC’s monitor and current display adapter are chosen as the device. If you want the display to match the output of, say, a color laser printer that’s available to the computer, choose it from the list.

  4. Place a check mark by the option Use My Settings for This Device.

  5. Click the Add button to choose a profile.

    This is the step where it helps to know what you’re doing: No additional information is provided for the profiles listed in the Associate Color Profile dialog box.

  6. Select a profile from the ones that are listed.

  7. Click the OK button.

    The profile is now associated with the device you chose in Step 4.

  8. Repeat Steps 5 through 7 to add profiles for the device.

  9. Click the Close button and then close the other open dialog boxes and windows as necessary.

Windows XP isn’t as sophisticated as more recent versions of Windows when it comes to using the color management tool. Follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the desktop and choose Properties from the pop-up menu.

  2. In the Display Properties dialog box, click the Settings tab.

  3. Click the Advanced button.

  4. In the monitor and display adapter’s Properties dialog box, click the Color Management tab.

    Unlike in Windows Vista, the only device available for configuring is the monitor. You can add a color profile to the monitor, but again it helps to know which profile you need as opposed to just randomly choosing a profile.

  5. Click the Add button.

  6. Choose a color profile in the Add Profile Association dialog box.

  7. Click the Add button.

    The profile is now associated with the device.

  8. Repeat Steps 5 through 7 to add more profiles.

    You can highlight a single profile and use the Set As Default button to choose your favorite profile from several.

  9. Click the OK button when you’re done, and, optionally, close the Display Properties dialog box as well.

Windows installs color profiles as you add color devices to the computer. For example, when you’re installing a color laser printer, Windows automatically installs the necessary color profiles.

  • The PC’s display adapter may have come with special utilities that set the colors better than the Windows Color Management tool.

  • The monitor may have color temperature settings in its control panel. Check the monitor’s menu for a color temperature or other color settings.